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Andrew Anderson © 2012 The Happy Biker All Rights Reserved

OVERTAKING - Be sensible, be seen and be Safe!

Ok why do we have bikes… because twisties are what life is all about… if you are sad like me that is.. and cutting through traffic is fantastic, its one of bikings greatest pleasures… passing all those cars… and making those drivers wish they were on a bike… and quite a few do … you know the ones… they always move out of your way when you are filtering..

With all that acceleration on tap.. it’s very tempting for the red mist to take over and just blast past the traffic… but overtake and filter with care….

Done safely it’s a top grin… like getting your knee down…. But if you are careless… passing traffic going through a junction or crossroads… and you could be looking at a stay in your local friendly hospital.. or worse… exchanging your leathers for a wooden overcoat! Definitely not nice .. that one.

Although accidents caused by overtaking are not the most common, they are inevitably the most serious. Cars are big and hard.. we are small and soft… so its us that gets splattered over the road… Put yourself in the car…. Ok if I hit another car, lorry or bus, that will hurt me.. but a bike… well Ill be ok. Now I’m not saying that car drivers purposely go out of their way to hit us… but the perception of risk to a driver is that a bike is small and “wont hurt me”. How many times have you experienced the car that has tried to push you out of the way….. with utter total disregard to your safety…. Its not that he doesn’t like you…. It’s that he doesn’t see your bike as a risk to himself…

Where- Ok so you are on a straight road, there are no junctions ahead so the traffic cant turn right, so it should be pretty safe to blast past the traffic at warp speed… right… NOPE! What if Uncle George in his Morris Minor decides he is fed up with the traffic jam and does a u turn….. Hummm Morris Minors are hard and you are soft….. Or if Mr Repman decided to do the same as you and pulls out in front of you… bet he didn’t expect to have a boot full of R1.

If you are accelerating, the impact will be significantly greater than if you are travelling at a more reasonable speed. Also the faster you go the harder it is for the driver to see you, and the less time you are giving yourself to stop / take evasive action.

Why- There are many reasons for traffic to slow down on a road, one of the most common is for a vehicle to turn right. There we go… humming in our lids… blasting down the outside of a queue and suddenly SPLAT, just like a fly hitting your visor… only this time its you on the side of a car…. Or if you are lucky.. you will fly through the air like superman. Now I will let you into a little secret now…. Bikers don’t fly too well… they always end up landing with a bloody great thud on the road…. And it hurts…

Result- Well this type of crash is horrendous… and to be honest one of our worst nightmares…. We don’t usually get a second chance with these accidents!


1. Never never overtake through junctions;

2. Watch out for farm entrances, lay by's, un-marked side roads;

3. If you are passing a long line of slow moving traffic, and the opposite carriage way is clear, go as far out to the right as possible… you will be able to see further up the traffic queue and have more time to react to that car turning right or the driver doing a u turn;

4. On right hand bends...slow right down if passing traffic;

5. Don’t cross solid white lines.

REMEMBER.... you must be 101% certain that it’s safe to overtake before you undertake the manoeuvre.... be 90% sure its safe and you are playing a dangerous game..... every one in ten overtakes could result in an accident...... now if that's not sobering I don’t know what is!

BMF - Overtaking